Ethiopian Maid? No Thanks!
JEDDAH: JASSIM ABUZAID & IRFAN MOHAMMED
Saturday 20 July 2013
Fearing for the lives of their children after two Ethiopian maids killed two young girls in their care recently in separate incidents, a number of Saudi and expat families want to get rid of their maids from Ethiopia.
This comes as the Ministries of Labor and Interior decided to halt all new visas for maids from the African country pending the completion of an investigation into the killings.
The first incident involved a 6-year-old Saudi girl, Lamis Al-Salman, two months ago. The second incident involved the killing of a 10-year-old Syrian girl, Israa, who was hit on the head by the family's maid with an iron rod while she was sleeping and then stabbed to death.
Many websites specializing in domestic worker issues list families offering to give up their Ethiopian maids.
“It is terrifying to see how some of these maids heartlessly slaughtered innocent children in the houses of families they were supposed to help,” said Afnan Al-Mahmoud, a Saudi woman.
Deputy Minister of Labor Mufarrej bin Saad Al-Haqbani said recently that there was a temporary ban on new visas for Ethiopian maids. However, Ethiopian maids in the country are still allowed to seek other sponsors or rectify their status.
In another development, about 200 Ethiopian maids have arrived at a Riyadh police shelter in Nafal district, north of Riyadh. They are part of a group of 400 maids of various nationalities who want to return to their home countries.
Riyadh police official Col. Abdul Rahman Juraid, who is responsible for the shelter, said about 30 to 50 maids are arriving at the shelter every day.
The 400 maids arrived at the center during the first 10 days of Ramadan. Among the Ethiopian maids at the shelter include some with psychological problems, runaways, those with passport problems and others who missed their flights.
Ethiopian men have also become a growing problem lately. A few months ago, residents of a number of provinces started searching for Ethiopian men who had illegally crossed the border through Yemen.
Meanwhile Ahmad Al-Lehaidan, spokesman for the passport department, rejected allegations that the department was failing to renew documents or forcibly deporting workers from certain countries.
“The royal decree clearly specifies that the amnesty extension is meant for all nationalities that need residency cards to stay in Saudi territory.”
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